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Murder Mystery of Ex-NFL Star; Severe Weather Strikes Across Country; Rick Perry's Controversial Statement; Baldwin's Twitter Breakdown; NBA Draft and Trade Shockers

Aired June 28, 2013 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: History of violence. The ex-NFL star behind bars in a murder mystery. Now investigated in the killing of two other people. The growing case against Aaron Hernandez.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOr: The weather outside is frightful. Rain, flooding, and a possibly dangerous record-breaking heat wave. Severe weather striking across the country. What you can expect and red today?

ROMANS: And Alec Baldwin's bizarre overnight Twitter breakdown, threatening to take down a reporter. What start this confrontation coming up.

BERMAN: You know bizarre like doesn't even begin to describe it. This is a doozy even by Alec Baldwin --

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: Happy Friday. I'm Christine Romans. It's 31 minutes past the hour.

Former Patriots tight end, Aaron Hernandez, waking up this morning in a Massachusetts jail, and the web of suspicion around him, it really does appear to be growing. Police were back at his home Thursday night in connection with another unsolved murder case. Our Susan Candiotti has the stunning new developments.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Authorities are now investigating whether Aaron Hernandez might have been involved in an unsolved double murder in Boston last summer. A law enforcement source telling CNN Boston police just found a silver SUV linked to the case after looking forward since last year and believe Hernandez was renting it at the time of the murders.

DANIEL CONLEY, SUFFOLK COUNTY, MASS. DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Following every lead and trying to establish the evidence in that case, and we believe we're making progress. But at this moment in time, it's too premature to name any one individual as a suspect.

CANDIOTTI: Hernandez's lawyers won't comment on the possible connection. A judge rejected a second attempt by his defense team to spring Hernandez from jail on the first degree murder charge in the alleged execution style shooting death of Odin Lloyd. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty.

JUDGE RENEE DUPUIS, MASSACHUSETTS SUPERIOR COURT: Despite the fact he has a fiancee and a baby and he's a homeowner, he also has the means to flee. And a bracelet just wouldn't keep him here nor would $250,000.

CANDIOTTI: During that bail hearing, prosecutors revealing new alleged evidence at a condo leased by Hernandez in a town near the football player's home and in a Hummer outside also said to be linked to Hernandez, they seized 45-caliber ammunition and a 45-caliber clip. The same type of ammunition allegedly used to kill Lloyd. Investigators say they built their case against Hernandez using cell phone tower tracking, text messages, and surveillance tapes at Hernandez's home and elsewhere.

In the wee hours of June 17th, Hernandez allegedly picked up Lloyd at his home. They were then joined by two other unidentified passengers. They stopped at a gas station and buy blue bubble gum. During that ride at 3:23 a.m., Lloyd sends a text to his sister, reminding her of who he was with. He writes "NFL, just so you know."

Two minutes later, witnesses hear shots near the murder scene. About four minutes later, Hernandez is seen carrying a gun arriving home with two other people. Investigators say they matched shell casings from the murder scene to one 45-caliber shell found in Hernandez's rental car. After Lloyd is killed --

VOICE OF BILL MCCAULEY, FIRST ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The defendant and his two confederates appear at the rental agency where they rented the silver Nissan Altima. At that time, they go in to return the car, the defendant offers the attendant a piece of blue Bubblicious gum and finds a 45-caliber casing as well as a piece of what appeared to be chewed Bubblicious gum.

CANDIOTTI: Susan Candiotti, CNN, Fall River, Massachusetts.



All right. President Obama heads from Senegal to South Africa this morning on the second league of his African visit. The trip overshadowed by the ongoing health concerns for anti-apartheid leader, Nelson Mandela. The 94-year-old remains in a Pretoria hospital, but his condition is said to have stabilized. He is still in critical condition, though. Still no word if Mr. Obama will meet with Mandela. The White House says they'll let his family decide if a visit is appropriate.

BERMAN: New this morning. Is this all a big waste? The government watchdog says the Pentagon is spending millions to buy an aircraft for an Afghan aviation unit that cannot fly or even maintain the equipment. The recommendation stopped spending some three-quarters of a million dollars to buy Russian made helicopters for that unit. At least wait until they're better able to keep the choppers in the air.

ROMANS: All right. She's taken the fifth, but a House committee could vote today to demand that embattled IRS executive appear again to discuss her role in the targeting of political groups. Lois Lerner appeared at a hearing back in May and refused to answer questions but did read a statement. And Republicans say by doing that, the head of the IRS exempt organization's division waived her Fifth Amendment rights.

BERMAN: This is where I know you've been watching for a long time, Romans. Former New Jersey governor, Jon Corzine, now facing civil charges in the collapse of trading firm MF Global. The federal regulators say Corzine did not act in good faith when he ran the company, violating his obligations to keep an eye on what was happening.

The complaint says he bears some responsibility for the firm's demise in 2011. His lawyer calls the charges meritless and says his client did nothing wrong.

ROMANS: It's amazing, from governor to senator to running this big firm, and then running it into the ground. Really, really a big story there.

All right. Some controversial comments from the governor of Texas directed at the state senator whose filibuster this week helped stopped that state from adopting some of the toughest, strongest abortion restrictions in the nation. During a speech to abortion opponents on Thursday, Governor Rick Perry mentioned state senator, Wendy Davis, as he argued the regulations are necessary.


GOV. RICK PERRY, (R) TEXAS: She's the daughter of a single woman. She was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas senate. It's just unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters.



ROMANS: Davis responded calling the statement without dignity. The state Senate set Monday to again consider that very, very strong bill. It would ban most abortions after 20 weeks and require the procedure only take place in surgical centers effectively shutting down dozens of Texas clinics.

BERMAN: Let the intrigue begin continue or escalate Democratic House leader, Nancy Pelosi, is making her 2016 presidential fit known. Drum roll. She told "USA Today" she urged Hillary Clinton to get into the race. Pelosi says the former Secretary of State is well qualified for the job and would be the, quote, "best prepared person to enter the White House in decades." ROMANS: All right. At the Jackson family's wrongful death trial, the pop star's nephew, T.J., testifying. He's co-guardian of the Jackson children and with Jackson's mother, Katherine. T.J. told the court how Michael offered support when his mother died and he wanted to return the favor. He also provided some insight into how Prince, Paris, and Blanker were affected by their father's death.

BERMAN: Some flash floods in the West Central Pennsylvania leaving some communities under as much as four feet of water. Look at that. You shouldn't be driving through that.

ROMANS: I know. I was going to say Indra says don't drive through that.

BERMAN: That is a bad idea. The region's been damaged (ph) by storms and heavy rains. Streets in Dubois County northeast of Pittsburgh are looking more like lakes. Emergency responders have been using life rafts to reach residents who, at this point, may be trapped.

ROMANS: Out west, people are baking in the valley of the really, really hot sun. Phoenix could reach a record 118 degrees this weekend. There are excessive heat warnings in effect for Arizona and California through Sunday. The temperature in the aptly named Death Valley, California, expected to hit 129 degrees. And I can't even imagine how that must feel.

BERMAN: It feels hot. You know, stay -- no really hot.

ROMANS: I mean, Indra, that must be like just, what, a blow-dryer on your face. You can't breathe.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You can't breathe. Like people forget, you know, it's warm. The oxygen that spread out far. You're literally not getting as much oxygen. Forget everything else that's -- the dehydration. But something else you guys mentioned also was the flooding threat.


PETERSONS: Both of these things are in the forecast this weekend. We're talking about a lot of flooding out towards the east and all this hot heat towards the west. Two things, these are the two number one killers of all weather events. They're both going on this weekend. Unfortunately, they're also the two that people constantly underestimate.

Here's the thing, though, it is very, very -- we're talking record breaking heat. And also, we're going to be breaking records for the amount of rainfall for the month of June. So, a lot is going on. Let's start out west. This dome of high pressure, that means sinking air. So, it's all that stagnant air that's going to be in place and with it.

I'm going to keep mentioning these temperatures, because they're so impressive. I mean, once in ten years you see temperatures like this. 126 in Havasu. That is place a lot of people go. Phoenix, 118, Vegas, 117. Unfortunately, people are going to be drinking. Please, do not do that. This is very, very dangerous conditions. You need water and you also need your electrolytes to keep those in balance.

If you want to drink so much water and you start sweating so much and you keep that about, that puts you in danger as well. Also look out for the northeast. Heavy rain with a slow-moving cold front. When it's that slow, you start to get very large rainfall amounts. Two to four inches possible even down for the southeast.

We're talking about several inches of rain with all of this. Of course, the flooding concern is very high and that brings us to what you guys were just talking about. Please, do not drive through floodwaters. It's so dangerous. People underestimate it all the time.

ROMANS: Six inches, right?

PETERSONS: Six inches. And even a foot can carry away a huge SUV. Both of these are preventable death (ph). And unfortunately, we're going to be (INAUDIBLE) this weekend.

BERMAN: Such a wet summer already. All right. Indra, thanks so much.

All right. Alec Baldwin back in the news for what he's been saying on Twitter. The actor slamming a reporter for the U.K.'s "Daily Mail" saying -- for saying that Baldwin's pregnant wife, Hilaria, tweeted out upbeat comments during James Gandolfini's funeral. Baldwin tweeting in return a threat to "F" up the reporter.

And, he says, quote, "My wife did not use her phone in any capacity at our friend's funeral." Hilaria Baldwin also insisting it wasn't true. She tweeted, "FYI, I don't believe in bringing phones into a funeral. And I never did and I never would." Alec Baldwin's Twitter account has since been deleted.

ROMANS: The whole Twitter account?

BERMAN: I guess so.

ROMANS: Is it the first time --

BERMAN: I think he's been down this road before.

ROMANS: I feel like I've actually read those words before. Interesting. All right. Forty minutes past the hour. We'll be right back.


ROMANS: Good morning. Welcome back to EARLY START this Friday. Is Nigella Lawson moving out? Britain's "The Sun" newspaper publishing pictures that show moving man carrying what appears to be the TV chef's belongings out of the London home she shares with her husband.

She apparently hasn't been living there for several weeks since photos surfaced of her husband with his hand around her neck at a restaurant.

BERMAN: Rusty, the runaway red panda is back home, and thankfully, doing great, we're told. But officials at Washington National Zoo still do not know how he pulled off the Hudini-like escape. You'll remember he was, for a time, a panda on the lam. Rusty caused some pandemonium earlier this week, but he turned up in a residential area more than a half mile from the zoo. But the good news, again, he's back and safe with the National Zoo right now.

ROMANS: I'm sorry. It was a panda on the what?

BERMAN: A panda on the lam.

ROMANS: A panda on the lam. That's right.

BERMAN: A panda on the lam.

A perfect segue. Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan join us now. Panda on the lam.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Panda lamb. That's how that would work to you. Word is, it was an inside job, by the way.

BOLDUAN: Oh yes?

CUOMO: Yes. Always look at the monkeys. Inside job at the zoo, look at the monkeys.

BOLDUAN: They're sketchy character.

BERMAN: You're profiling.


CUOMO: Thumbs. That's what it is. It's all about thumbs.


CUOMO: Don't kid yourself.

BOLDUAN: There you go.

ROMANS: Too early for this Cuomo. Clever humor. All right. What's going on?

CUOMO: All right. Big news this morning. Big news, obviously. The Zimmerman trial. Yesterday, a very important day. Why? The prosecution's best witness to establish that Trayvon Martin was a victim from beginning to end really had a tough time with defense counsel. So, are we closer to knowing who started the fight?

Are we closer to knowing if George Zimmerman was set into that evening by hate for people like Trayvon Martin. That's what we're going to break down with all our experts for you this morning. BOLDUAN: And another -- this -- everyone is going to be talking about this today. This woman was fired from her job accused of being too irresistible. And the court said the firing was legal. But now, her case is getting a second chance in a rare, legal twist.

CUOMO: And we got Kevin Durant, NBA star, digging deep to help tornado victims. Oklahoma Thunder forward sat down with our Rachel Nichols, talked about giving back. Why he's teaming up with Jay-Z as well for his own career. That's what we got.

BERMAN: More focus on the Zimmerman trial, because I have to say, I was riveted by this trial yesterday. I just couldn't take my eyes off it. There's so much to dissect there and --

ROMANS: Yes. I was, too.

BERMAN: All right. Forty-six minutes after the hour right now. And coming up, the end of an era. A blockbuster trade in the NBA that has already changed my life and could change the landscape of the eastern conference. This is big. The "Bleacher Report" breaks it all down for us. Next.


BERMAN: I stayed up much later than I should have following the NBA draft, and it was the strangest, weirdest draft ever with more surprises that you've ever seen. Shocking picks, shocking trades. Andy Scholes joins us with the breakdown now in the "Bleacher Report." Hey, Andy.

ROMANS: Berman says like the earth shattering, the world -- his life has changed forever. Is it really that serious?

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Sure, it's pretty bad for him. We'll get to that big trade here in a moment. But, you know, yesterday, we talked about how there was no clear number one pick this year. No one really knew what the Cleveland Cavaliers were going to do with the first pick. Even with all the uncertainty, no one predicted this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Cleveland Cavaliers select Anthony Bennett of Toronto, Canada, and University of Nevada, Las Vegas.


SCHOLES: The Cavs shocking everyone with the pick of Anthony Bennett out of UNLV. Bennett, who's the first ever Canadian to go number one, was projected to be a top ten pick, but even he was surprised when he heard his name. Kentucky's Nerlens Noel ended up following the sixth to the New Orleans Pelicans but was then traded to the 76ers for Jrue Holiday and a 2014 first round pick.

NBA commissioner, David Stern, received his usual boos during the draft, and he loved it. This is Stern's 30th and final draft as he plans on retiring after the season. As a going away present, the fans have broken reverse field and gave Stern a standing ovation as he made the last pick. And then a (INAUDIBLE) one, the first pick Stern ever announced back in 1984 came out on stage to end Stern's time at the draft just like it started.

A huge trade agreed to last night, and this is the one Berman is certainly not happy about. According to reports, the Boston Celtics will send Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets for a package of players including Jarrod Wallace and three first round pick. Now, the rebuilding movement in Boston is clearly in full effect now.

In one week, the Celtics nation have said goodbye to Doc Rivers, Pierce, and Garnett. The Nets, meanwhile, put together an all-star starting five, which is pretty good (ph).

The Diamondbacks and Nationals, they went into extra innings last night. In the 11th inning, check this out, guys. A fire broke out in light pane (ph) right field. Pretty scary moment. But get this, they didn't even stop the game. Fans were removed from the sections directly under the fire, but, play continued like there was nothing going on.

BERMAN: Never seen that before in a game. All right. Andy, appreciate it.

SCHOLES: No problem, guys.

BERMAN: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce coming to be closer to me here in New York.


BERMAN: We'll be right back.


ROMANS: All right. In a world that moves so fast, convenience is often all we really ask for. Well, you may or may not like this service Jeanne Moos found out about.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We like our drive-thru fries. We like our drive-thru lattes, but will we rest in peace at a drive-thru funeral?

CARL EGGLESTON, PRESIDENT, OLIVER & EGGLESTON FUNERAL ESTABLISHMENT: We just offer the families something different and so they have options.

MOOS: The options of having the deceased in a casket viewed by mourners driving by. As one online poster put it, "For when you don't care enough to get out of the car." But Carl Eggleston doesn't see it that way.

EGGLESTON: It's designed for people who have disabilities or and during in climate (ph) weather.

MOOS: When Eggleston renovated his funeral home in Farmville, Virginia, he added big windows low to the ground. And now, if you pay for a traditional funeral, you'll throw in the drive by option.

(on-camera) You'd let me head a viewing during a day and then at night I could be laid out for the drive-thru.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's at no additional cost.

MOOS: The last time we heard the words "funeral" and "drive-thru" together, it was when a processional went through a Burger King drive- thru to honor the deceased. The Pennsylvania man loved fast food so much that his family paid tribute by stopping off for whopper Jr.'s on the way to the cemetery.

Even the deceased got a burger which is placed on his casket and buried with him. But last week, (INAUDIBLE) back in Egglestons, no one has yet opted for the drive-thru visitation.

(on-camera) This isn't the first funeral home to offer drive-thru services. The most famous one is operated for 40 years out in a car called in Southern California.

(voice-over) The Adams Funeral home in Compton is what inspired Carl Eggleston. "The Los Angeles Times" profiled its drive-thru visitation. The funeral home says it's especially convenient when the deceased is well-known and there are lots of mourners.

(on-camera) One little added tip (ph), when someone is laid out at a drive-thru funeral, lay off the horn.

(voice-over) Whether it's fast food or a last look --

(SINGING) Have it your way --

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


ROMANS: Hey, well, TGIF.


BERMAN: -- a happy thought to send you into this weekend on that cheery note, drive-through funerals. Let's bring in "NEW DAY" anchors, Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan. Hey, guys, cheer us up.

BOLDUAN: Yes, exactly. That is one way to kick off your Friday. That's for sure. Thanks, guys. Thank you.

CUOMO: Kick off.

BOLDUAN: What? Thanks.

CUOMO: I was trying to help the situation. Didn't work. Almost top of the hour. You know what that means on "NEW DAY," time for the top news.